Botha’s future goes to a vote

Residents to decide whether to become part of County of Stettler

Botha residents will vote on whether to dissolve the village.

Alberta Municipal Affairs was asked to assess the community’s future and a report from the Village of Both Viability Review Team says the village about 15 km east of Stettler is “not clearly viable.”

About 35 people attended a public meeting on Wednesday night to review the viability report results and the community’s options, whether to dissolve and become a hamlet in the County of Stettler or remain a village and undertake extensive measures to restore its viability.

The three-person council opted to take the issue to a vote. It is hoped that will be held in the next month or two.

Village chief administrative officer Shawna Benson said the community is facing a number of challenges, including finding the money to complete all of the urgent infrastructure projects that need to be done and maintaining services such as snow plowing.

Not enough money comes in from utility bills to cover those costs and there has long been difficulty filling key positions in administration and council. The last two council elections saw no challengers and the village has gone through four top administrators in three years.

Dissolution appears to have considerable community support.

“This is a fairly amicable viability process. There is no hostility,” said Benson. “The villagers are more than happy to be going this route.”

Mayor Flo Iskiw offered reassurances dissolution does not mean the end of their community.

“Communities are not defined by where the administration building is located, but by the people, and the spirit that they create,” says Iskiw in a statement released on Thursday.

“Botha is a fabulous community – and whether we remain a village or dissolve into a hamlet, that fact will not change.”

As with many communities considering viability, property taxes and utility rates have been an issue. A survey of residents found 24 of 31 residents said those bills were not affordable at current service levels.

Asked if residents thought the village was viable for the long term, only seven said yes, 18 said no and six were not sure.

Becoming part of the county would mean lower utility rates and taxes. On a $100,000 comparison property, the annual tax bill as part of the county would be $720, compared with $1,080 if the village remained.

Just Posted

911 operator helps Red Deer couple during birth

Meet for the first time Thursday

Canada’s 150 year ends on ice, but no hockey pucks, triple jumps allowed

OTTAWA — No figure skating. No hockey. No racing. No cell phones.… Continue reading

Banner signing at Collicutt Centre

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Regulator investigating Sears Canada liquidation sale prices: monitor

TORONTO — The Competition Bureau is investigating allegations that prices on some… Continue reading

Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month